Monday 31 May 2021

πŸ“– Book Review ~ The Sewing Room Girl by Susanna Bavin

Allison & Busby

My thanks to the author for my copy of this book

1892. When her beloved father dies, Juliet and her mother, the difficult but vulnerable Agnes, are left to fend for themselves. When Agnes lands a job as a seamstress for a titled family, things appear to be looking up. But just as the pair begin to find their feet, Juliet finds herself defenceless and alone.

Without her mother to protect her, Juliet becomes the victim of a traumatic incident and is left to face an impossible dilemma. She flees to Manchester seeking support from her estranged family but comes up against her formidable grandmother, who is determined to bend Juliet to her will. It will take all Juliet’s ingenuity to escape the clutches of her ruthless grandmother and make her own way in life.

πŸ“– My thoughts...

Juliet Harper's life changes forever when her beloved father dies and she and her mother are made to leave the cottage which has been their home for years. Finding work as a seamstress in the home of the local gentry offers both Juliet, and her mother, some element of security but fate has a fickle way of interfering and Juliet finds, to her cost, that not everyone wants to see her succeed. Juliet's life is far from easy but with resilience of spirit and a willingness to learn she is determined to make the best of herself despite the many setbacks which seem to come her way.

The author writes with a real sense of purpose and brings the north of England to life in such a readable way that it is easy to become immersed in the life of all her characters some, it must be said, are more likeable than others. The late Victorian era comes alive particularly in describing Juliet's fascinating career as a seamstress, and shows in detail the social and moral restrictions which were placed upon unmarried women. Location is a real focus point of the novel and the intuitive way in which the author writes about the rich heritage of the North of England is what makes this such a fascinating story and a real page turner.

The Sewing Room Girl is a wonderfully evocative historical saga. Rich in detail and alive with tragedy, heartbreak and happiness, it is a story which is every bit as good as I knew it would be from this talented writer of historical fiction.

About the Author

Susanna Bavin has variously been an librarian, an infant school teacher, a carer and a cook. She  lives in Llandudno in North Wales but her writing is inspired by her Manchester roots.

Twitter @SusannaBavin


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